MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Three-year-old Ari Crawford was not happy that her parents, Terrel Crawford and Ashley Miller, took her mother's cellphone from her.
The family, including Crawford, Miller, Ari and 2-year-old Kyndrik, was shopping at Walmart in Mount Vernon earlier this month. As Ari started to scream and cry, her father took her outside to calm down.
Crawford, 29, a licensed massage therapist who works in the music and digital marketing industries, decided to go live on his Facebook page, showing his daughter's tantrum and explaining his philosophy of firm but loving parenting.
"I don't want her to think less of me because we're taking something away from her," Crawford said in an interview with the News Journal on Tuesday. "But she has to know that even everything we give her, they have to really deserve it."
The family, who lives in the Mount Vernon area, had gone to Walmart after Crawford got home from work, and they gave Ari her mother's phone to distract her during the trip.
Crawford said when Miller needed her phone back and tried to take it from Ari, things turned ugly. Crawford calls it her "Walmart attitude."
In the video, titled, "When spoiled ass kids get told NO in Walmart," Ari is crying while sitting on the hood of the family's car in the parking lot. Her father tells her they won't be going back inside the store until she calms down.
“When you spoil the hell out of your kids, this is what happens," Crawford says in the video. "That’s our fault for being raised as ghetto kids and never having anything, but see, people don’t know how to tell their kids no. ... I don’t care if you was grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth. Don’t put one in your child’s mouth, because this is what happens."
By the end of the video, Ari is back to her happy, giggly self, headed back in the store with her father to use the restroom.
"When I have to do that, it literally breaks my daggone heart because I know she's mad at me, but I've learned to do it in a way to where I'm still her best friend at the end of the day, and I get the smile from her," Crawford said.
To his shock, his video went viral, garnering more than 21 million views on Facebook as of Tuesday night.
"It did something that I didn't really expect it to do," he said. "I guess I'm just overwhelmed with the blessing of all the positive energy."
Crawford said he often goes live on his Facebook to share snippets of his family's daily life, with views averaging around 3,000. He calls the moment he shared in the viral video "a normal thing."
Crawford, a Mansfield native and 2006 Mansfield Senior High graduate, said as a child, his parents were stern, with some strong punishments.
He says he had a good childhood, but he only listened because he was scared and feared his parents, something he didn't want to happen with his own children.
"I didn't wanna yell or whoop my kids, like at all," he said. "I didn't want my kids to be scared like I was. ... I don't want my kids to be scared of me."
Crawford admits with his two older boys, 13-year-old Dominick and 9-year-old Jaxon, he was tougher, sometimes "popping" them if they misbehaved. But as he learned more about being a parent, he realized he didn't like that method.
"That became a little bit of a shaky action to me," he said. "I don't want my child to kind of like jump if I go do anything."
Crawford says his style of parenting is just one method, and it's not any better or worse than other methods, including his own parents' methods.
He said for his own children, he just learned talking sternly to them was enough.
"We all learn as we grow. You're learning as a parent just as the child is learning as a child," he said. "You are always learning, whether your child is 2 or 22 or 42, you're still learning how to be a parent to that type of child."
Crawford also knows he's setting an example for his children as members of a multiracial family.
He doesn't want his children to resort to violence in the future.
"They know that we're, you know, black, white, Mexican," he said. "They're gonna face something eventually (where) somebody's gonna be so evil and negative towards them that they're gonna want to lash back. I teach them all the time that you always have the choice to not do it. Remember that."
Crawford said the reaction to his video has been overwhelmingly positive, with responses from all around the world.
"You're unifying together on one subject," he said. "So many different people from all over the world are coming together on one subject, and positive about it."
Some parents don't approve of letting children spend time on phones and tablets, Crawford said, but he says it's educational and keeps his children occupied.
Ari, her father's "princess," loves watching YouTube videos, learning about shapes, colors and animals and singing songs.
"It's not bad to let your kid play on the phone if they're playing with the right things. We've always been adamant about having them play games," he said. "It's something that keeps their attention. Some of these things are annoying to us parents, but at the end of the day, it's really helping."
Crawford and his sons are considering launching a blog in the future as a way to learn skills and spend time together. He's also launched a t-shirt campaign called "Help End Racism."
"As much negativity as we have in the world," he said, "it's always good to have positivity."
Follow Emily Mills on Twitter: @EmilyMills818